Refund drama puts woman off races

By Alison King


A three-month battle to be repaid an entry fee has put one woman off entering other events in case they, too, are cancelled.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she now felt wary of giving her money to event organisers. She said the Brooks Rotovegas Half Marathon would have been her first such event.

The race was to have been held on August 26 but was postponed to November 25. Then it was cancelled a couple of weeks before the event, with race director Phil Clode citing low numbers.

"It was going to be our first race," the woman said. "This experience has put us off. I think [we got our fee back] because I was persistent ... He knew I wasn't going to let up on it."

The race entry fee was $45.

Mr Clode, director of events company Brave Events, has said he was working through refunds and anyone who was yet to receive one should get in contact.

The race has been sold to Running Events, which has also bought the Rotorua Ekiden race, another event in the Brave Events stable.

The woman said she had received an email saying the race was cancelled and to forward her bank details to receive a refund. She said she did that but nothing came of it.

Weeks later she emailed again to no avail. She found a phone number for Mr Clode online and spoke to his sister who gave her his personal cellphone number, which she said she called numerous times. Last week she received the refund.

"It was only $45 but it was the principle. You're paying for something and you expect to get it back if it's been cancelled."

She said a friend of hers applied for a refund when the event was postponed in August and it took 10 weeks to receive their refund.

Other runners have told The Daily Post they have yet to receive refunds.

Mr Clode said there were 170 entries to the half marathon event when it was in August compared with 350 the previous year which they had expected to grow. "When we moved it to November it was supported by even less. At the end of the day you can't afford to lose money when you put on an event ...

"We have made a commitment to refunding everybody. This has taken longer than it should have, as have the sale of the events. This decision was made once we did our numbers for the 2012 events and the offer to purchase was made in December."

Anyone who has yet to receive a refund can contact Mr Clode by emailing info@braveevents.co.nz

- Rotorua Daily Post

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